NETHERLANDS: Court rebukes policy on Iranian scientists

A court in The Hague dealt a blow to the Dutch government's controversial attempts to keep sensitive nuclear technology out of the hands of Iran, writes Martin Enserink for Science Insider. Its policy to ban Iranian-born students and scientists from certain masters degrees and from nuclear research facilities in The Netherlands is overly broad and a violation of an international civil rights treaty, the court ruled earlier this month.

"We're elated. This is a big victory, not just for us, but for science as well," said Behnam Taebi, a PhD student in philosophy of technology at the Delft University of Technology and one of the plaintiffs in the case. Taebi has both Dutch and Iranian citizenship, as do the two other plaintiffs, nuclear physics professor Nasser Kalantar of the University of Groningen and chemistry student Kawe Bitaraf of Delft. (The court dismissed a fourth party in the case, the Action Group Iranian Students.)

The Dutch ministries of science and foreign affairs enacted the new policy in 2008 as the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1737, adopted in 2006, which calls on member states to prevent training or teaching Iranian nationals in ways that would help Iran obtain nuclear technology. The Netherlands is particularly sensitive to the issue because Abdul Qadeer Khan, who helped build Pakistan's nuclear bomb, secretly collected valuable information while working at URENCO, a Dutch uranium-enrichment plant, in the 1970s.
Full report on the Science website